Bonne Marque of 2015 vowed to never work with a client from the recruitment industry again, after a difficult experience. Although this was only half-sincere jesting — a strong stance after an impossible time — a degree of caution lingered when we were contacted by the recruitment agency, Hunter Farmer. But it was soon evident that this would be different.
When a company called Hunter Farmer becomes your client, literal thinking is your friend, and it took no time at all for Alex and I realise this. Knowing we would attack this project with original artwork by our Senior Art Director, Ray Mendez, Alex began sketching and I began writing. Sure, Hunter Farmer composed its name using terms from the recruitment industry, but Alex and I were thinking bigger than that. This was about branding. Early in my first writing session, our joint protagonists emerged: The Hunter and The Farmer.
After this unique and incredibly-effective introduction to the key characters of the Hunter Farmer narrative — perfectly pitched to set up both sides of what Hunter Farmer does, which in simplified terms is headhunting and on-site recruitment services — our unique story begins, grounded by chapter one’s striking display of the brand statement I had written, presented with the title of this account.
I had noticed from the copywriting on the old Hunter Farmer website and from speaking to Ben (founder of Hunter Farmer) that he was proud of the roots of his company, having raised it during an incredibly difficult financial time, deep in the UK recession of 2008. Thinking again of the artwork we would commission for the project, there was no better place to base chapter two than in this dark turmoil. Step up, Ray, and then Alex, who had to take the fine-art madness and my narrative and somehow create an easy-to-follow and successful web design for a client who we truly wanted to succeed. No simple task.
Taking inspiration from the opening line of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, I penned what would ultimately become the opening sentence of the Hunter Farmer about page: Then there was the recession. Attentive readers will note that, in some respect, I continued the Hemingway style by following up with a series of strong and simple words such as ‘shut,’ ‘rain’ and ‘firm.’ The passage of writing above is one of the finest and genuinely creative ‘about pages’ I have seen anywhere online: a remarkable united achievement from the Bonne Marque team.
This chapter was written rather late in the process because we felt the narrative was too focussed on The Hunter. It gave me an opportunity to divide the Hunter Farmer brand personality into two clear traits. On the one hand, The Hunter represents the aggressive and direct traits of the company, and The Farmer stands for integrity, honesty and putting a shift in. We had balance, and Philip Levine readers will notice the nod to the great poet (and one of his greatest poems) in the opening line of Chapter Three.
Compared to where we were heading next, which is going into what Hunter Farmer offer in terms of services, these first three chapters had been simple. The nature of the honest language — referencing famously honest writers such as Hemingway and Levine — lent itself to talking about brand attitude and history, but talking about ‘talent consultancy’ and ‘search and selection’? Let’s see.
Here we have The Farmer in his element, on the landscape he has worked so hard to ready for The Hunter’s offering. Through a number of conversations, both internal and with the client, we agreed that our approach to the concept should be all or nothing. Are we going to commit or not?
You can see that we did commit, and the writing in Chapter 4, which is about ‘talent consultancy’ at heart, is all about the brand, reinforcing the values that make Hunter Farmer so special in their industry. We were absolutely confident that anyone viewing this website will be so blown away by Hunter Farmer’s vision that they don’t need to learn everything about their services on the website. They need to learn what type of company Hunter Farmer is, what industry they’re in, and that they are gifted. In this light, the website is a complete success.
Suitably, Chapter 5 represents The Hunter in his element, importantly alongside The Farmer. This chapter is all about ‘search and selection’ and probably more obvious than Chapter 4’s subject of ‘talent consultancy.’
This is a remarkable illustration, of course, which made the writing come even more natural. All I had to do was follow the tone set by Ray Mendez, our Senior Art Director and illustrator, and keep typing.
I’m unashamed to say that I returned to Levine for inspiration in Chapter 6. After beginning with Hemingway in Chapter 2, I made a decision to stick with the great American minimalists for inspiration throughout the project. After reading plenty of Hemingway, Carver, Levine and McCarthy while working on Hunter Farmer, it seemed that Levine would be my main man.
Those who experience the website as it should be experienced — by actually visiting it — will interact with the sections to the lower right of the writing that read ‘MORE.’ This takes the reader to another passage of writing that compliments the original passage, elaborating on the point and sometimes speaking in more modern-day language, ensuring we don’t alienate the Hunter Farmer audience.
This marks the natural end to the narrative, upon which readers will click ‘CONTINUE YOUR STORY,’ which is at the foot of Chapter 6.
Sometimes, this section was described as ‘the boring part’ of the website, but we always knew that it must be simple for people to contact Hunter Farmer after being taken through this blindingly brilliant story, and we want Hunter Farmer to make a fortune from our work.
Ben at Hunter Farmer always had faith in Bonne Marque and never once questioned our creativity. For this, we worked even harder to ensure that our rebrand and website would see Hunter Farmer become huge. We maintain a close relationship with Ben and will be continuing our work with Hunter Farmer, helping with presentations, social media, internal documents and anything he needs to maintain this powerful brand. This story isn’t finished yet. No way, son.